The Pennsylvania Bar Association recently presented Bucks County Solicitor Joe Khan with its 2022 Government Lawyer of the Year Award.
He received the award during an event in Harrisburg in recognition of his work advocating on behalf of the county and its residents as head of the Bucks County Law Department. In the past year, Khan and his team have scored critical wins in lawsuits brought against the county, as well as taken aim at those who have done harm to the county or its residents.
Bucks County Commissioner chair Bob Harvie described Khan as a “tireless advocate for the people of Bucks County.”
In January, Khan’s department presented the commissioners with an ordinance that established countywide regulations for massage establishments in order to curb human trafficking. In June, he and the Department of Consumer Protection and Weights and Measures, which he administratively oversees, authored Pennsylvania’s first county-level Lemon Law to protect used car buyers from dishonest dealers.
Both proposals received strong community support, and the commissioners voted unanimously to adopt both ordinances.
In the spring, Khan and the commissioners joined with Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub to file a federal lawsuit against major corporations who for decades produced and sold products containing the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS that to this day pollute water and soil in the county. In addition, Khan and his team worked with the commissioners, Weintraub and other stakeholders to secure millions of dollars through the county’s prosecution of claims against opioid companies.
“I’m honored to receive this award, thanks to the leadership of the Bucks County Commissioners,” said Khan. “With their trust and support, we’ve built a team of dedicated public servants who have improved the quality of legal services while saving taxpayers millions of dollars over the last three years.”
Khan was appointed County Solicitor in January 2020, and immediately began working to revamp his office. He hired more attorneys to save on outside counsel fees — most recently on behalf of the Children & Youth Social Services Agency — found more efficient resolutions for long-standing litigation, and helped secure fellowships and scholarships for Law Department attorneys.
Before coming to the county, Khan practiced public interest law and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, prosecuting violent crime and corruption in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Khan has served on the adjunct faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Law School since 2015 and has led several nonprofit boards, including Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, where he now chairs the Governance Committee. He previously served on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission for Asian Pacific American Affairs.
In 2021, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania honored Khan with its Outstanding Solicitor Award for “redefining the role of county solicitor” and guiding the county to “realize its vision for transparency, ethics and excellence.”